Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | July 12, 2011

The Big Easy Journals

New Orleans – An Attempt at Journaling # 6

Well, my trip to New Orleans is coming to an end, and I think I’ve hit that point where I’m ready to come home.  New Orleans is wonderful – but I’m ready for the quiet part of my vacation.  The change is pace is good, but I think relaxing spa type vacations are still a little more my style.

So yesterday was one of those days that just wasn’t going to work for me. It started out fine – we went to a great little restaurant, kind of like the Gold Range Bistro*, only New Orleans style.  I ate this HUGE breakfast I couldn’t finish, with eggs, hashbrowns, the best grits I’ve tasted to date, a buttermilk biscuit, and alligator sausage.  That’s right, I tried the alligator. It was spicy, but pretty decent.  Next EV and I did some shopping at the French Market.  It was interesting, but crowded.  EV wanted to pick up a few more things but I was pretty shopped out and getting bone cold, so we split up, and I came back to the hotel to update my notes and whine about the rain.

Forget bricks or mortar... New Orleans is a city built from music.

When I came back out, things had perked up a bit.  The sun had come out, so I decided I wasn’t going to curl up in the bistro with a book and a coffee, and I took a little walk instead.  I wanted to stroll in Armstrong park, but it was unfortunately closed.  They are doing some construction, and the whole place is shut off.  It’s a shame, really.  The place looks gorgeous, with bridges and ponds and fountains.

Since I had been hankering to sit in the courtyard and read (as I mentioned in the previous entry), I decided I would do just that.  It helped recharge the batteries a bit more.

But here’s where it starts to get cranky.  EV and I met up for a late dinner.  We were going to go eat quickly and then make our way to Frenchmen Street to find some music to listen to, but alas, our plans were foiled.  We decided to try out this cajun pub (somewhere we hadn’t been yet).  Our waiter was incompetent at best.  EV suggested he might be high, actually.  He took our drink and food order. Came back because he “had mixed up tables” which I’m certain is code for forgot to put our order in.  We then had to ask again for our drink (a beer and a mojito took about half an hour to get to us, and that isn’t an exagerration).  When the food came after our second order, it wasn’t what I’d ordered.  I’d decided I was going to try the Shrimp Po’boy after all, as my friend PM had suggested via Facebook.  Instead, they brought the catch of the day with EV’s crawfish pasta.  Back to the kitchen the meal went, and the manager had my Po’boy rushed and comped.  And I didn’t really like it after all – turns out it’s fried shimp between some bread.  Kind of boring, really.**  So disappointing over all.

As was the jazz on Frenchmen.  Most places were full, so we went back to Maison for a drink and the band playing there.  It was a young jazz band, very improvisational, but they really hadn’t found their sound yet.  They were all playing solos together, rather than feeding off each other as a band.  EV compared them to zombies, and the description was apt.  They had no stage presence.  They were disconnected from each other, from the music. Which was too loud.  It was like elevator music, only blaring. So we finished our drink and went back to Bourbon.

Things ended up looking up there.  Most places were pretty full, but we ended up in an outdoor courtyard at a jazz legend park, where a folk/jazz band played.  Elizabeth had been hankering for some banjo playing, and the music was alright by me, so we stuck around for the rest of the set.  I had a lovely margarita (though I really wish there was less use of styrofoam cups here) and then the best beignets to date.  Take note, Cafe du Monde is good, but the Beignet Cafe in Jazz Legend park leaves them in the dust.  They were nice and doughy. And hot, hot, hot.

At the end of the set, we waited a bit, but the CD playing during the break was pretty mellow, and it was too chilly to sit still outside, so we headed back to the hotel.  I think EV may have headed back out for some true Bourbon experience (she was sleeping when I called to see if she wanted to go for breakfast), but I’m not really sorry I missed it. I’m not really a night owl, and I am really, really not a crowd person.  Which is why I’ve got a mellow day today.  I’ll have a little breakfast, then see about visiting an old graveyard, I think.  Maybe take a walking tour – or a horse tour – tonight.  Then it is pack up for tomorrow, and head back to Canada.  I definitely want to come back here someday, but I think I’ll look into the season where it’s a little warmer (but not so hot I wilt!) and yet not too crowded (Mardi Gras definitely not happening for me!). I’d love to come back and do another bayou tour, and maybe see more of the city when the leaves aren’t turning and falling.  I suspect the gardens are gorgeous in spring.

Of course, my next adventure in New Orleans won’t be for a while.  I want to see a little more of the world before I start repeating.  And of course I still have one more day here for the magic of New Orleans.  So there will be one more entry, though I’m not sure whether it will be tomorrow morning or once I’m back across the border.  So until then…

*A famous (infamous) greasy spoon type in my home town.

**Though it may just have been the rush job, since I later saw it on other menus with actual fixings in pictures.

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